Union Calls For One-Day Strike Against Air France
If you were planning on heading to Paris at the end of January on Air France, beware.
Years of labor issues between unions and France’s national airline apparently will continue into 2016, as the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) has called upon its members to stage a one-day strike against Air France on Jan. 28, the union said in a statement.
The union continues to protest planned layoffs, outsourcing of some jobs and the staffing of Transavia Airlines, the low-budget carrier formed from Air France’s partnership with Dutch carrier KLM.
According to reports, Air France is planning to eliminate 3,000 jobs in the next two years — 1,000 in 2016 and 2,000 the following year unless Air France management finds an agreement with the pilots’ union by February.
Walkouts began in January of 2014 and reached an embarrassing climax in October of this year when union representatives literally ripped the shirt off the back of Air France human resources director Xavier Broseta in a meeting between the two sides, after Broseta had talked about layoffs.
The union has asked the government, which already owns 17.6 percent of the airline, to take a larger stake in the carrier and to become more involved in the talks – but the government has declined.
According to Forbes, Air France has asked its pilots to fly more hours for no extra pay to avoid redundancies. The pilots rejected that, so Air France has reduced its long-distance flights by 10 percent and removed 14 planes from its fleet.
Erick Derivry, president of pilot’s union SNPL France Alpa, has said he is aware that Air France is caught in the middle of a European conundrum — low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair are siphoning off economy class customers while the Middle East Gulf carriers are gaining more traction with luxury-class passengers.
But Derivry also said this is an issue that needs to be resolved among governments, not airlines.
Ironically, Air France has announced two significant additions to its flight schedule come spring. The airline will operate three weekly flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, Iran, beginning in April. In May, Air France will begin service from New York to Paris’ Orly Airport, which complements the current four daily flights to Charles de Gaulle.
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